By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Albert Louis Van Valey was in his late 20s when he moved to Everett in 1896. He ran a bottling business and prospered. His big American Craftsman home on the edge of downtown became an Everett landmark.
Owned today by the city of Everett, the Van Valey House at 2130 Colby Ave. turns 100 this year. It cost $5,000 in 1914 when it was custom-built for the Van Valey family. The two-story showplace has hardwood ceilings with ornate panels, and beveled and stained glass windows.
For the Everett businessman, who was born in Ohio in 1868, glass wasn’t art but the stuff of commerce. Glass was used for bottles that helped Van Valey make his fortune. At his Riverside-area plant, Van Valey bottled mineral water and carbonated beverages, according to William Farrand Prosser’s 1903 book “A History of Puget Sound Country, Its Resources, Its Commerce and Its People.”
In 1898, far from Everett, artist Louis Comfort Tiffany — son of the Tiffany jewelry firm’s founder — was perfecting techniques with opalescent glass. From his New York-based Tiffany Studios, he made unique lampshades from pieces of colored glass.
The bygone worlds of Tiffany and Van Valey will come together at an exhibit of new lamps made by artists at Covenant Art Glass. The Everett business offers classes in stained glass and in making reproduction lampshades in the Tiffany style.
Lamps will be on public display at the Van Valey House starting with a show preview at 7 p.m. Saturday. The art show is juried, and from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday the public is welcome at an awards ceremony and reception. The house will also be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday for public viewing.
Tami Bogdanoff teaches Tiffany lamp-making with Nancy Alexander at Covenant Art Glass. Bogdanoff said the show will include 58 lamps, many made in previous years at the Everett business. For Covenant Art Glass, founded by Stan and Colleen Price more than 30 years ago, this is the 10th anniversary of Tiffany lamp-making. The Van Valey House centennial provided a fitting venue for this year’s display.
This year’s class of about 15 students includes first-timers and students who have made lamps before. It’s an expensive and time-consuming craft. Students can spend $600 to $1,000 on glass used to make the shades. Lamp bases — Tiffany used bronze for his originals — are also costly.
“It’s a timeless art,” Bogdanoff said. She explained a process that involves cutting and grinding glass pieces, and fusing them with copper foil. Covenant Art Glass uses Odyssey lamp forms, based on Tiffany’s designs.
Fran Fowler, who created a lamp in this year’s class, lives near Darrington. After the mudslide closed Highway 530, her trips to evening classes meant three-hour drives each way.
One night, after working hours on her lamp, she had a car accident on the way home. Fowler, 67, broke her thumb and glass pieces in her lamp. With the help of her instructors, the lamp was fixed and finished in time for the display. It’s the third one Fowler has made.
Reproduction Tiffany lamps will be for sale at the show. Bogdanoff said some are priced at thousands of dollars. Fowler wouldn’t part with the lamps she made. “I’m interested in having the beauty,” she said.
Display visitors will see glasswork treasures, and also the beauty of the house Ed and Betty Morrow donated to the city in 2002. The Everett couple lived more than 20 years in the Van Valey House, which is on the Everett Register of Historic Places. Ed Morrow is a retired school principal who served on the Everett City Council. Betty Morrow taught at Everett Community College.
When they donated the home, its carriage house and a collection of historical artifacts and photos, their gift’s estimated value was more than $350,000.
David Dilgard, a history specialist at the Everett Public Library, said one of the original homeowner’s two daughters, Esther Van Valey, married Len Ayres in 1923. Ayres ran a marionette act, Mantell’s Mannikins, and the couple traveled the country on vaudeville circuits.
Albert Louis Van Valey died in the house Nov. 26, 1941, two weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
From 1957 to 1962, the old house was the Andiron Restaurant. It housed the Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1962 until ‘79.
The city now rents it out as a venue for weddings, receptions and meetings. Outside, there’s a Van Valey House sign.
A visitor with an eye for detail will see another sign of the past — a distinctive V in the red brick chimney.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tiffany lamp display
Glass lamps created in the style of Louis Comfort Tiffany, made by artists at Covenant Art Glass, will be on public display at Everett’s 100-year-old Van Valey House starting with a show preview 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The public is welcome at a reception and awards ceremony 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The display is also open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Van Valey House is at 2130 Colby Ave., Everett.